The first time I ran the Seven Mile Bridge in 2015, I was sick and had no idea what to expect. I had never run a bridge before. The middle arc of the bridge is high, and the uphill climb is steep. I finished that first race in one hour, 20 minutes and 26 seconds. This year, I was determined to train better and harder and beat my previous time. I knew what to expect, and I was confident.
The race started with the National Anthem and then silence until the “gun” went off. I was off to the finish. My running watch began to track my performance, and I tried not to look at it every minute. I made it to the start of the arc after the first two miles and began climbing to the top. It was not as bad as I remembered, but I pushed through the burning sensation in my calves. I wasn’t going to walk. I made that deal with myself before the race started. At the top of the arc, I looked left and then looked right. The crystal blue waters were calm. I could hear the sound of the drone flying overhead, taking video footage of the journey. I descended downhill, making great time. I couldn’t believe how quickly I forged the dreadful arc. Before I knew it, I was passing the left until the finish.
Finally, I could see the finish flag, and I pushed myself just a little bit harder, running as hard as I could to cross the finish line in what ended up being a personal record. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Did the clock really say one hour, 11 minutes and 57 seconds?. I was so proud of myself. . I grabbed my well-deserved finisher medal and found a seat on one of the buses to make the trek back across the bridge to Marathon, Florida. I went home with more pride than I had ever felt before.